Catholic school in Agra promotes yoga through art exhibit

It’s no secret that yoga isn’t universally practiced in India; some people even argue that, at this point, yoga is more popular in the West than in its homeland.

There’s no secret, either, that yogis and others in India are trying to change that. But this story runs a little counter to the normal expectation.

A Catholic school in Agra is holding an art exhibit of different asanas — including Christ sitting in lotus — intended to promote the practice to Indians.

The Times of India picks up the tale:

A brainchild of Father John Ferreira, principal of St Peter’s College, founded in 1846, it has taken two years of hard work conceptualizing and executing the project in a unique style.

“The idea was to bring the esoteric science of yoga to the masses from the closets of ashrams and libraries. The visual appeal had to be striking and the message simple to relate with the needs of the common man,” Ferreira said.

Five years ago, when John Ferreira took over as the principal, he introduced a one-hour daily yoga regimen for students.

“Not just the Catholic church but parents, teachers stood up in opposition. They thought it was a waste of time and energy, but today the miracle has been achieved. The boys are regular practitioners of yoga.

Some of them have become yoga teachers; the Catholic priests are also yoga fans, including the archbishop. The whole campus exudes positive vibes. Other schools too have taken to yoga and the various school boards are now planning to introduce yoga in the curriculum,” Ferreira said.

He has built a huge yoga hall on the campus, which is open to the general public morning and evening to practice and learn the intricacies of yoga. “I have stopped all junk food on the campus and brought out a series of calendars on various diseases and how yoga and natural cure methods can help.”

As one enters the portals of this grand institution, it is difficult to miss the huge painting of Jesus Christ in a yogic posture, in sublime tranquility.

Stopping all junk food and highlighting natural cures sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it? The yoga transformation in action.

The story ceterainly puts a fine perspective on the debate about whether Christians can or should do yoga.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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